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Travis' Mule 550

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Crank un-installedIMG_20180512_100522_hdr.thumb.jpg.687092d12daebf03c59f08011e6605a9.jpgIMG_20180512_105612_hdr.thumb.jpg.c50b17d97adfc169f2b4df6ce3f1739d.jpgPiston INSTALLED after honing.IMG_20180512_104525_hdr.thumb.jpg.76de4e56ad2c0afbf0aa245bd4ea222c.jpgCrank installed after honing.


Last pic is honed.IMG_20180512_101517_hdr.thumb.jpg.c9d0dc0dd9d90357f6309d6726b3a6b8.jpg

Kind of blurry, took it with one hand. It looks better in person. It may not be professional quality but im 99.99999999999999999% sure it will work.

Did better than I thought i would.


So now, only ONE more obstacle. the crankshaft axial play adjustment BUT

I need someones opinion ( i took the piston back out afterwards) not sure if you can see it, but in the picture with cylinder honed, it's almost right where the  glare from the light is, and on top of the cylinder directly across from the spot, it looks like the hone didn't get ruffed up.  any ideas? out of round cylinder, cylinder wore and needs bored??


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Need to get y'all a picture of the honing job  Ted's did. A work of art!

 When i went there, the machinist asked me what grit stones i was using, all i new it said was "medium grit" from the parts store. He said it was too rough for honing. and i might have broke or wore my rings pre maturely.

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Need some ideas. the "left main bearing" in the crankcase, where the shaft sticks out, where the flywheel mounts, in the crankcase  it has a non replaceable bearing. If it is wore too much, you have to replace the entire crankcase. Im going to measure it later, (from a visual it doesn't look too wore) but i was wondering if i could buy a ball bearing and put in it IF it is wore past the service limit?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Took the camshaft and crankcase cover to the machine shop. (the cam journal and crankcase bearing for the cam were wore some) and the machinist said not to worry about it. still fits real tight, and has minimal play.

 And i too notice no score marks on the cam journal or inside the bearing. so i just saved $300 bucks.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I was going to order the shim from KPH, but they dont keep them in stock, so they would have to order it from Kawasaki, then when it arrives at their location (Michigan) they ship it to me. that would take 2-3 weeks. then a rare occasion happened, I had a thought.

 Pro Powersports here in Conroe  is a Kawasaki dealer, so they are going to special order the part for me, and can have it here within 10 days. 👍

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...


I've been so dang busy lately, i finally got a couple of hours to work on the jacka$$... i mean Mule..😉

Got the rod bolts torqued, pulled off the oil pump/tang installed the cam and timed it it to the crank, put the cover on, and for those who dont know or remember the ordeal with the crankshaft and cover:

There is a  shim between the crankcase cover and the crankgear, this helps control the end play, or side to side movement of the crank. anyway, the first time i installed the cover the crankshaft would not spin by hand (according to the manual its supposed too)  so i measure all the clearances  (according to the manual instructions) and came up with the correct size shim. so back to TODAY.

 I installed the new  shim (VERY easy)  slid the cover on, put the new bolts in, torqued them and the moment of truth,  the crankshaft spun by hand,which is what i was looking for!

 So now all i need to do  is install the head and set the valve clearance.

and for anyone else rebuilding any engine,  i do not recommend using Permatex  assembly lube, it is  very slick and not tacky, it runs of the parts easily, so i bought some Lucas lube, and it's slick, but tacky enough it held onto the  surfaces.



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Hey Travis! Hope y'all had a nice Thanksgiving. Sounds like you're almost ready to get that thing going!

Have you given any thought to converting to foot pounds, and using a different/larger torque wrench? I'd probably just give em 240in. lbs. and be happy with that. I can't imagine there'd be a problem with that method. The important thing, as I see it, is that their all the same tightness, without being tight enough to strip those aluminum threads. Maybe add a little of the blue thread locker. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I installed the new valve tapper and adjuster.

 Put the valve cover on, (torque spec, 130 inch pounds on the  2 bolts)  I set my torque wrench to 130,  and S N A P.    :(   so i take the valve cover back off, and see the broken bolt, Thank the good Lord Almighty it broke off just before it threads into the head, and it was enough to get my needle nose on and back it out, luckily i had kept the old bolts, so put a new o ring on one and tightened, but this time as tight as i could with a regular ratchet.

 I still need to torque the flywheel nut, it's kind of hard with one person, to keep the crank shaft from spinning while tightening it.

 Any suggestions?

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Couple of things here. First, the valve covers on my car are in the 7ft. lbs. range. Very similar. You said that you tightened it as tight as you could with a ratchet. 7ft. lbs. would be about as tight as you could do with a nut driver. So a quarter in. ratchet would still be medium tight.  Second, don't ever use pliers of any sort on anything that's stripped. Vise grips will work best. In this type of situation, go for the win on the first try, because sometimes there's not a second chance. If the pliers slip, they'll just make the job tougher. Since it all worked out, no harm done, and good job!

Now, on to the flywheel, and keeping things from spinning. A simple trick from back in the day could help here. Try feeding a rope through the spark plug hole. Fill the cylinder up with rope, and leave it in place. Obviously you'll want to leave enough rope hanging out, so it can be removed afterwards. This will GENTLY bind the piston, so it can't cycle. Use a good rope , that won't leave tiny rope bits. And try to coil it into the cylinder as it goes in. 

It's been a long journey buddy, and now you're getting close to the end. Don't forget why you came this way, instead of taking the easy way, and just paying the money. The things you've learned here will serve you well, throughout your whole life. Really...its a small price to pay for that kind of education. Keep those pictures coming!

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I tried vice grips at first on the bolt, but the way the it broke it left a peak, or a point on top, and the grips wouldn't clamp it.

Good idea with the rope!! I will definitely try it. I was able to tighten it a little bit more, but not to spec yet.

I built an "engine test stand" (square piece of ply wood i drilled holes through to mount the engine) so i can fire up and make sure everything works/is in working order out side of the frame, so i don't install and it blows up on the first stroke.that would be my luck. lol.


You've given me a lot of good advice and i appreciate it a bunch!


Merry Christmas!

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I've seen those vise grips slip before, so I know what you mean there. But if it came out with a pair of pliers, then it wasn't in that tight. If you're going to work on equipment you'll need the good stuff. Old school vise grips, are manufactured by Peterson, look for those, not that Irwin crap. Otherwise look at Milwaukee brand, sold at home depot. There's a big difference in success on those specific vise grip jobs, when you're using the good stuff. Collect good tools now buddy, and take care of them, the future is pretty bleak for quality tools. So always keep an eye out for the good stuff.

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For a little eye candy, on just what is possible. If you've got the eye, and the talent. Check out the garage journal forum. Look specifically in the tool section. There's a fellow calls himself nine four GMC. Sorry I can't link it, but his threads are well worth the trip. Pure talent right there.

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5 hours ago, kenfain said:


Now, on to the flywheel, and keeping things from spinning. A simple trick from back in the day could help here. Try feeding a rope through the spark plug hole. Fill the cylinder up with rope, and leave it in place. Obviously you'll want to leave enough rope hanging out, so it can be removed afterwards. This will GENTLY bind the piston, so it can't cycle. Use a good rope , that won't leave tiny rope bits. And try to coil it into the cylinder as it goes in. 


What size rope would be best?  I saw a video on youtube of a guy using  trot line size rope, would a lead rope work better, or Paracord?

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